The aim of this study is to determine the differences between the Internet in China and the United States. China was chosen due to the restrictive and closely scrutinized nature of its Internet, in contrast to the internet in United States which has significantly more freedom and protected by the freedom of speech and expression. This study will include:
• Distribution and segmentation of the medium in both countries
• National regulatory structures
• Socio-economic origins and functions of medium in today’s society
It was concluded in this study that extreme control over the Internet will only disadvantage a country. Besides keeping the information technology sector out of date, the economy will not grow to its potential and at the same time, shelter the people of a country from information that they have the right to know. Nonetheless, there should be some level of gatekeeping and control over the Internet that is aligned with the freedom of speech and expression.
Distribution and segmentation of the medium in both countries
According to a report by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in 2012, China’s Internet users had already grown to over 538 million by the end of June 2012. It is expected that this number will increase to 718 million by 2013, which will account for 52.7 percent of the whole population. Another report by CNNIC states that 56 percent of Internet users in China were male, while 44 percent of them were female.
Other than that, most of Chinese Internet users limit their Internet usage to Chinese websites. This is because the Internet censorship in China makes it very inconvenient for Internet users otherwise. For instance, setting the Internet speed for non-Chinese websites at a very slow speed. Chinese Internet users are also younger than the rest of the world, with nearly 60 percent of them under the age of 30, and 80 percent of them under the age of 40 (CNNIC, 2012).
On the other hand, the average age of Internet users in America is 42, while the average age for a non-frequent Internet user is 56 (European Travel Comission, 2012). In 2012, United States was ranked 28 of 211 in terms of Internet use in percentage of population, with 81 percent of its total population who are online (International Telecommunications Union, 2013).
Figure 1: Growth of Internet users in China
Internet in China is owned by the government. The Chinese government monitor and control all online access routes by using a highly advanced and extensive gatekeeping program (The Economist, 2013) known as the Great Firewall of China. Internet is China is so strictly controlled that businesses and individuals may only rent “bandwidth from state-owned entities” (Herold, 2012).
By having complete control over the few entities and their network connections, the Chinese government is able to monitor and regulate the Internet more effectively. Sherman, co-author of “Red Wired: China’s Internet...